This is an entry by Stephen Moyers a regular guest blogger on Adlibweb.
Responsive design seems to be the king of current website design trends, but this approach may not work for every site. Each website requires a different design and style depending on a variety of factors. If you are creating a website for your company or personal use, it is important that you carefully select the design that will work best for you.
Criteria to Prioritize in a Template
There are countless factors in website design. Colors, patterns, comment boxes, separate pages, video content, and many other pieces come together to create a fantastic website. The template that you choose is a major part of your site.
There are three criteria to consider that you should prioritize: content width design, home page header design, and menu bar design.
Content Width Design
Generally, there are two options for content width in website design templates: full-width and boxed-width. Full-width is when the background spreads throughout the entire screen, as if it is endless. It is very popular and works well on mobile devices and websites with a lot of graphics. The wider width also gives you the opportunity to fit more tabs in the menu bar. However, the background picture being stretched means that the content orientation and alignment may be different between computers and mobile device screens.
Boxed-width is a more traditional style. It has a more organized, professional feel so many businesses prefer it. A boxed-width template has a specific, fixed width, preventing it from changing or warping, depending on the device that the website is being viewed on. It is the ideal choice if you are prioritizing a professional look from any device.
The foundational difference between each design comes down to the impression that you want to give the viewer. As a broad rule, the full-width will give a more creative, modern feel to your website. The boxed-width style will make your website seem more traditional and professional.
Home Page Header Design
The home page header of your website is likely the first thing that a visitor will see when they come to your site. It can be comprised of anything from images, to text, to videos. When picking out your header, it is important not to hastily choose the one that you find the most impressive or entertaining. Carefully consider your image, and how your choice will affect your business. As the first thing people will see, your header choice is one of the most important decisions you will make for your website.
There are endless possibilities for different home page header designs. However, some are more popular these days than others.
Static Header Image with No Content
Static header image with no content design means the only content of your header is a still photo. There is no movement and no text over the image. Static header image with no content designs should only be used by businesses that rely on beautiful photos to appeal to customers, such as hotels, resorts, or restaurants. It is an appropriate choice if you believe that a beautiful photo will be enough to attract customers into exploring your website.
You should not use a static header image with no content design if you run a business that requires further explanation about what you do and why people should use you. If your business needs even minor elaboration, having a static image as the first thing visitors see could confuse and possibly turn off potential customers. Only use a static header image with no content if your business can be easily summed up in one image.
Static Header Image with Content
A static header image with content design can be used by almost anyone. It is the safest option. A static header image with content includes a headline, supporting paragraph, call to action, and supporting image. In this design, the image should be secondary. It should support the text without overpowering anything.
Slideshow Header with Content
A slideshow header works the best for businesses that have multiple products or target audiences. It gives you the ability to showcase various items or services in the header, instead of limiting yourself to one thing. Being able to showcase multiple aspects of your business will widen the audience you appeal to and immediately draw in viewers.
Video Background Header
Videos have become an extremely effective way to attract website visitors. Having a video as your header engages viewers and displays the full gamut of what your business offers. If you are using a video background header, try to:
- Make sure your video has a message and is not random
- Use a unique video instead of finding a common one online
- Make sure your video is high-quality
- Keep it short
Menu Bar Design
People often fail to realize how important it is to have a good menu bar design. Visitors to your site must be able to easily navigate to other pages and explore your content. Even if your home page is stunning, people will give up on your website if it is difficult to navigate.
When you are choosing a menu bar, be sure to choose a clean and simple design, so that your tabs are easy to read. The color of your menu bar and the text of your tabs should contrast, so that it is easy to see the text. Organize your tabs from most important to least important with the most important tab on the left side of the menu bar. Do not put too many tabs on the bar. You only want to display pages that are essential to representing your business.
There are also many types of website layouts to choose from when creating a website. The main options are static page, dynamic website, fixed design, responsive design, liquid or fluid design, and single page design.
A static page layout has a fixed and set width from any computer or device. It loads very quickly and is less expensive than some other layouts.
In a dynamic website, you have far more options for design and organization. It allows for more creativity.
A fixed design layout has a set width, similar to a static page. Each component has a percentage of the page that it takes up.
A responsive design layout is the ideal format. People are more frequently accessing websites from their phones or mobile devices, and a responsive design will change its format to fit whatever device it is viewed on. A responsive design prevents confusion over a warped or disorganized web page on any device.
Liquid or Fluid Design
A liquid or fluid design layout means the page stretches or shrinks to fill the size of the window. It is good for websites that are being accessed from different devices or browsers.
Single Page Design
Single page design layouts are websites with only one page. They are well-designed and organized for the viewer. Single page design layouts are also compatible with most browsers and devices.